In Colorado, ‘lost’ ski areas can still be found

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(Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service
<p>Kids skiing at Berthoud, a ski area that closed in 2001.</p>

Tenderfoot Mountain. Ski Trail Mountain. Maggie’s Hill. These are but three of roughly 140 former ski areas across Colorado, according to a new book.

"Lost Ski Areas of Colorado's Front Range and Northern Mountains," by Littleton residents Caryn and Peter Boddie, tells the stories of the long-gone resorts.

For instance, the tale of Cowboy Peak in Oak Creek, just south of Steamboat Springs, is about a ski site that shut down over a $5 dispute.

"A basset hound shut down the ski area," Peter Boddie says.

The ski area was located on a private ranch and the family allowed the local Lions Club to operate it for just $1 per year, according to Boddie. When the Lions Club disbanded, Boddie says, the town took over the ski hill. Then, one day in 1985, the ranch's dog wandered into town, about a half mile away. Boddie says the town fined the family and made them pay a $5 court fee.

"The owners felt the town didn't appreciate what they were doing," Boddie says, and they shut down the ski hill. "It was the straw that broke their backs."

The Boddies traveled around the state collecting tidbits about each area, and are working on a second book due out next year, focusing on Colorado's central and southern mountains.

Many of the state's "lost" ski areas were not much more than a snowy mountain slope and a couple of tow ropes. The Boddies say most of the sites closed after World War II, when larger ski areas emerged, some with the help of war veterans.